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Research in Support of Curriculum Development in a Selected Service School of Air University. II. The In-Basket Test

Frederiksen, Norman O.; Saunders, David R.; Wand, Barbara
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
United States Air Force Personnel and Training Resource Center, Air University, Alabama, In-Basket Tests, Situational Tests, Test Construction, Work Sample Tests


This report describes the preparation of test materials which were designed to aid in the evaluation of instruction in the Command and Staff School of Air University. A major purpose of this course is to increase the administrative proficiency of field grade Air Force officers. Test materials for evaluation of instruction are desirable in order to support improvement in curriculum planning and instructional procedures. The test which was developed is a situational test which requires the examinee to play four roles: Commanding Officer, Director of Material, Director of Personnel, and Director of Operations of a fictitious composite wing. The examinee is provided with background information about the wing and the AF base where it is located, suitable material from the "files," and the contents of an in-basket which is appropriate to each role (hence the name, In-Basket Test). The in-basket contains letters, memoranda, and other documents which embody problems aimed at eliciting behavior relevant to the objectives of instruction in the course. The examinee's task is to write the letters and memoranda which he would write if he were actually on the job, to sign letters prepared for him, or to take other suitable action. Scoring of these products is intended to provide information which would be useful to the Air University in evaluating the instruction in the Command and Staff School. Full instructions for administering and scoring the test are provided in the Appendixes. This report also presents the results of a tryout of the test. The purpose of this tryout was to investigate some of the statistical properties of the test, student reaction to the test, and the adequacy of the instructions and procedures for administration. An entire class in the Command and Staff School took the test in the third week of the course.

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